The 6 Best Pet-Safe Ice Melts to Use This Winter
Protect your furry friends this winter! Our resident pet expert shared the best pet-safe ice melt products.
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When winter weather blows in, bringing cold snow and icy pavement, we look for the best snow removal tools, plus products to melt ice from driveways and porches. When it comes to de-icing, you’ll find several varieties of ice melt and rock salt products. We want to keep our whole family safe, and that includes pets. But is ice melt safe to use around animals? The answer depends on the product.
What to Consider When Buying Pet-Safe Ice Melts
Many de-icing products use sodium compounds, such as magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, calcium magnesium acetate CMA and potassium chloride. Sodium chloride (rock salt) is highly toxic to pets if swallowed. Sometimes they include ethylene glycol (antifreeze), which is poisonous to pets—or kids! These products come as small crystals or pellets. You see how road salt can stain your car, not to mention your home and yard, so just imagine what it does to paw pads.
Dogs might swallow tainted ice from between paw pads, while cats could lick stained fur while cleaning themselves. As a pet care expert, my job includes researching the safest, most effective options for dogs and cats. Here are my top choices for pet-friendly ice melts, so you can keep your home safe for everyone in the family.
What type of ice melts are safe for pets?
Potassium Chloride melts ice slower than other types of products, but is the safest to use around pets.
Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is a combination of lime and acetic acid (found in vinegar). It comes in liquid or solid form, takes less product to work and is more environmentally friendly.
A combination of magnesium and calcium chloride is safer than chloride-type ice melters around pets, plants and people. It works at very low temperatures, but you must use large amounts for effective melting and it can corrode concrete surfaces.
Calcium chloride products alone also work in very low temperatures, but repeated use can damage vegetation.
Propylene glycol-based products (often combined with urea) offer a safe dog option, but propylene glycol damages a cat’s red blood cells if swallowed.
Best Overall Pet-Safe Ice Melt
Just for Pets Snow & Ice Melter
Just For Pets Snow & Ice Melter is a steal at just $2/pound, and it comes in an easy-to-use jug. It’s one of the best pet-safe ice melt products because it doesn’t contain any chlorides (which cause skin irritation and can upset tummies when pets lick the product). Its rounded pellets are easy on paws, too.
The pellets provide twice the coverage of rock salt, and melt ice even in subzero temperatures.
- Inexpensive and easy to use
- Environmentally friendly
- Offers twice the coverage of rock salt
- Easy on paws
- Safe on concrete, asphalt, stone, brick, wood and grass
- 100% money-back guarantee
- May leave behind yellow stain
- Slower to work than other options
Best Value Pet-Safe Ice Melt
Morton Safe-T Pet
At only $2 a pound, Morton Safe-T Pet is a high-quality, vet-developed product that’s surprisingly affordable. Another plus? It comes with a convenient handle that makes dispensing easy.
Devoid of salts and chlorides, it uses natural, urea-based pellets that won’t damage pet paws. The blue color helps you see where you’ve already applied the product, to make snow and ice removal easy.
- Vet approved and pet safe
- Blue color aids application
- Safe for wooden decks and ramps
- Takes more product for effective melting
- May damage concrete
Best Pet-Safe Ice Melt for Lawns
Safe Paw Pet-Safe Ice Melter
Recommended by vets, the Safe Paw Pet-Safe Ice Melter won’t harm your lawn or plants. It comes in a 35-pound pail and contains turquoise pellets (don’t worry—they won’t stain your pets’ fur, or your floors) infused with melting and traction agents.
It doesn’t contain corrosive salts, chemicals or dyes. And because it contains no carbamide or chlorides, it won’t cause harm if your pets accidentally lick some of the product. It’s safe to use on gravel or other concrete surfaces, too.
- Garden and grass friendly
- No salts
- Recommended by vets
- Dye-free and won’t stain
- Moisture causes product to clump in container
- Works best on snow rather than ice
Best Pet-Safe Ice Melt for Extreme Temperatures
Green Gobbler Pet-Safe Ice Melt
Many of the best pet-safe ice melt products work well in milder winter temps, but the Green Gobbler Pet Safe Ice Melt works in temperatures as low as -15 degrees F. It contains white pellets made of magnesium chloride that lower the freezing point of water, which generates heat to melt snow and ice.
It comes in either a 15-pound or 35-pound pail and can be used in tandem with spreaders to clear your driveway of snow or ice.
- Effective and efficient even in extreme cold
- Won’t corrode concrete
- Ideal for large areas using spreader
- May stain concrete
- Packaging difficult to open
Best Pet-Safe Ice Melt for Concrete
Harris Pet-Friendly Ice and Snow Melter
Many ice melt products corrode concrete, but Harris Pet Friendly Ice and Snow Melter won’t. The product is made of 100% magnesium chloride and won’t irritate pet paws. It works at -13 degrees F and quickly melts ice and snow on just about any surface, from wooden decks to concrete and rock aggregate.
The ingredients, sourced from the Dead Sea, are environmentally friendly and listed with the Organic Minerals Research Institute for organic use. The manufacturer has been in business for nearly 100 years and is the oldest EPA registered company.
- Won’t damage concrete
- Works at low temperatures
- Melts ice and snow quickly
- Won’t irritate paws
- Requires more product than other options
Best Natural Pet-Safe Ice Melt
Natural Rapport The Only Dog & Cat Pet-Safe Ice Melt
Natural Rapport offers a safe-for-paws ice melt that contains a proprietary organic formula with biodegradable, soil-supporting compounds. That makes it less damaging to the environment, your yard, your car and your pets’ paws.
Made in the USA, the Natural Rapport ice melt lasts longer than many products from competitors. Also, the product won’t freeze if you leave the pail outside with the rest of your snow removal tools. One note of warning: The manufacturer cautions against using it on stone, brick, wood or concrete less than a year old.
- Environmentally friendly
- Works fast
- Time release lasts longer
- Requires less than comparable products
- Economical at $2.11/pound
- May damage stone, brick, wood or concrete less than a year old
How We Found the Best Pet Safe Ice Melt
As shopping experts, our only job is to help you find a winning product. We start with the research and reporting basics—what products are made of, what they look like and how much they cost—to ensure that we’re only recommending the buys that are worth your time and money. Then, we research the features that speak to the product’s quality, taking advice from industry insiders and subject matter experts on what makes a product a smart value (or worthy of a splurge). Finally, we do the work of combing through user reviews to see how real people interact with the product, and if it stands up to the test.
Does ice melt hurt dogs’ paws?
All ice melt products, even pet-safe ones, can irritate dogs’ paws from the chemicals used. Some products are safer than others, but prolonged exposure to any causes potential problems. If eaten, these products cause vomiting and diarrhea from gastrointestinal upset. Alternatively, you can use paw safety products like paw wax products or snow booties to keep him safe from ice melt products. Or try some of these alternatives to commercial de-icers.
What should you do if your dog eats ice melt?
If your pet walks through ice melt, rinse off their paws immediately to reduce the chance of irritation. Eating ice melt requires a veterinarian’s help. Swallowing rock salt, for example, can lead to lethargy, unsteady gait or weakness, changes in behavior and even seizures or coma. Don’t wait—just call your vet immediately. If a clinic isn’t available, call the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
Can you use cat litter for ice melt?
Cat litter won’t melt ice, but it provides traction and reduce the slick surface of ice and snow. Cat litter offers a safe option when you need to reduce the chance of slipping.
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